The Department of Transportation will tap the P3 billion funds from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to extend its P5.5. billion funding for the service contracting program for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers after the expiration of the Bayanihan 2 Act on June 30.
“We have funds under GAA [General Appropriation Act] to continue the service contracting program. We can download the P3 billion from the Land Bank of the Philippines so that we can continue the compensation for PUV drivers and operators,” Transportation Secretary Art Tugade said.
Tugade stressed that the agency would continue the free rides for the benefits of the commuters.
Martin Delgra III, LTFRB chairman, said the agency already made a request with the Department of Budget and Management to use the P3 billion fund for the extension of the service contracting program of the government.
A congressional leader earlier said the national government’s “Libreng Sakay” program should continue even after the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 expired.
Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, chairman of the House committee on transportation, said the DOTr can use its P3 billion allocation.
“Even with the expiration of the Bayanihan 2 Law, the DoTr can still continue implementing Libreng Sakay without the need for new legislation. The program has a separate allocation from the national budget of more than P3 billion,” Sarmiento said in a statement.
“This is more than enough to fund the extension of the Libreng Sakay program until December 30. This should give Congress more time to act on pending legislation that provides funding for the extension or possible expansion of the program,” he added.
Sarmiento said a total of P8.58 billion has been allocated to finance the government’s Libreng Sakay program.
Under the DOTr’s Service Contracting Program, participating PUV drivers would receive an onboarding incentive and a per kilometer fee to ferry medical front liners, authorized persons outside of residence (APORs), and essential employees.
For those joining the Free Ride initiative under the Service Contracting Program, the DOTr and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have increased the amount of payouts from P46.80 to P82.50 per kilometer for buses, and P52.50 for jeepneys.
PUV drivers also stand to receive an additional P7,000 if they log-in via the LTFRB’s Driver mobile application (app) for five days a week.